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Sleep Apnea

It is estimated that 90 million people in North America have breathing problems leading to snoring and sleep apnea. Snoring is not just a social nuisance, it is a serious health risk. Cardiovascular disease is the number two cause of death in North America and patients who suffer from snoring and sleep apnea have a higher incidence of heart attacks and strokes due to high blood pressure as a result of lack of oxygen. 

Snoring occurs when the tongue partially blocks the airway when the patient sleeps on their back and sleep apnea occurs when the tongue completely blocks the airway. Both situations are harmful since the patient is deprived of oxygen. Some patients actually stop breathing for 30 seconds or more, many times each night. These patients wake up several times at night gasping for breath. When they are deprived of oxygen they have problems getting to sleep, wake up frequently at night, have morning headaches, loss of memory, ear aches, grind their teeth at night, and find it difficult to concentrate. Patients are not aware of the fact that they are waking up, but you can see that they are not getting a restful sleep when they are frequently tired during the daytime. 

Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) for sleep apnea
Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure, or CPAP for short, is used to treat severe obstructive sleep apnea. The CPAP device is a mask-like machine that provides a constant stream of air which keeps your breathing passages open while you sleep. Most CPAP devices are the size of a tissue box. Although the CPAP machine is effective when worn at night, many cases of sleep apnea are moderate or light in severity and therefore can be treated with a number of dental appliances.

Dental appliances used to treat sleep apnea
There are many dental appliances that are designed to help treat sleep apnea. For less severe cases, these dental appliances can be used, and CPAP could be avoided. These dental appliances are custom fit and are worn at night only. These appliances are comfortable, non-invasive, and are much smaller and more convenient than CPAP devices. These appliances are new dental technology that our dentists have been trained to use. 

One of the dental appliances we offer is called the Modified Herbst Appliance (shown below). Patients find this appliance extremely comfortable since it is so small and easy to use. This device is extremely effective because it moves the lower jaw forward, which opens the airway and reduces snoring and sleep apnea. 


Our office accepts dental insurance for sleep apnea. Just ask our receptionist for details.